Paying for college can be an overwhelming process that takes planning and preparation.  Here are some financial aid resources to help make planning easier for you. Keep in mind that the financial aid process in constantly changing. Check this site, the sites listed below, and college’s financial aid sites for updates.

Understanding the Cost of College



The cost of college varies greatly from institution to institution. First, it is important to understand the different factors that comprise The Cost of a College Education:

  • Tuition

  • Room and Board

  • Personal Expenses

  • Books, Lab Fees, Supplies

  • Travel Expenses

    • Depends on the school’s location and how often the student plans to come home

    • Does your student plan to Study Abroad?













  • Determines a student’s eligibility for need-based and non need-based federal and state aid

  • ALL SENIORS & THEIR PARENTS should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible between October 1st - March 1st

  • Even if you do not think you will qualify for need-based aid, fill out the FAFSA! It is often required in order to be eliegible for school sponsored aid.


First, the student needs to create an FSA ID


Next, fill out the FAFSA online


Families should file their FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st of their student's senior year.


FAFSA will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR) and each school you apply to sends you an Award Letter detailing your financial aid options.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Determining A Student's Eligibility For Financial Aid:


  • Cost of Attendance (COA) varies by institution

  • Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount your family can reasonably be expected to contribute to your child's college education. This is calculated when you submit your FAFSA.


COA - EFC = Financial Need


  • Your financial aid package will be based on the financial need calculated using this formula.


To Learn More, Visit:


Net Price Calculator

The Net Price Calculator helps families estimate the cost of education at differnt institutions. Check each college's financial aid website for their Net Price Calculator. 


The Net Price Calculator is not perfect, but it is good place to start in estimating the cost of college for your student.


How to Pay for College presented by Patrick J. O'Connor

Fundamentals of College Admission Counseling 3rd ed. by NACAC




  1. Grants

  • Gift Money (Do NOT Need To Repay)

  • Based on Financial Need

  • From the Government or Individual Universities


  1. Scholarships

  • Gift Money (Do NOT Need To Repay)

  • See the Scholarships Page for more information and to search for scholarships


  1. Loans

  • Must Be Repaid With Interest

  • Federal Loans

    • Subsidized (Require Financial Need)

    • Unsubsidized (Do Not Require Financial Need)

  • Private Loans


  1. Work Study

  • Earned Money

    • Students work part time for eligible employers

  • Based on Financial Need

    • Can earn wages up to the amount awarded for Work Study in the college’s financial aid package


Different Types of Financial Aid

Additional Financial Aid Resources:


  • Discloses the net price based on a user’s family income, and other essential information, by institution


  • This site offers Federal Student Aid information


  • Here, you will find all kinds of financial aid information and resources


  • This site offers resources for helping you fill out the FAFSA and helping you better understand financial aid


CSS/Financial Aid Profile


  • Some schools require you to fill out the CSS Financial Aid Profile in addition to the FAFSA